Monday, October 2, 2023

Coach Campion delighted as Kennedy and Parker take England Squash Challenge titles

George Parker (left) volleys during the high-quality men’s final against Patrick Rooney

Coach Campion delighted as Kennedy and Parker take England Squash Challenge titles
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Correspondent

England Squash national coach David Campion was delighted with the quality of play on display during the AJ Bell Challenge at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

George Parker overcame Patrick Rooney to win the men’s final and Georgina Kennedy announced her long-awaited arrival on the professional scene by beating Millie Tomlinson to triumph in the women’s event.  

Campion said: “We wanted to give the players that sit below the National teams some meaningful competition as they are currently less catered for due to the pandemic.

“With the collaboration with PSA squashtv, it was also an opportunity for the wider squash community to see some of the emerging talent play, something they don’t necessarily get to see. We are in talks about further projects in the coming months.

“I was really happy with the pool format. It gave everyone a chance to progress – even if you lost your first match. It meant more ‘live’ matches opposed to losing and going home. On the whole I thought the level the players produced was excellent and very combative, particularly on finals day.

“The men’s final was high class. Both Patrick and George played with lots of skill, variety and athleticism. The women’s final was exciting and Georgina has proved to be a revelation in winning against such a field of top 45 players.

“She has a great future ahead so I am looking forward to seeing how she develops over the next period once we are through this pandemic.

“I wasn’t that surprised about Gina winning as she has been beating some of these girls on the elite quads we have been having in Manchester. I knew she had a genuine chance to win the whole thing.

“In the match for third place, Jazz Hutton showed she has improved greatly and along with Lucy Turmel we have a very good group of young girls who are now pushing through.”

The AJ Bell England Squash Challenge was staged at the National Squash Centre in Manchester from Tuesday to Thursday (November 24-26) to offer leading English players an opportunity of competitive play to help them during an extended period of PSA World Tour restrictions as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

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The event was delivered by England Squash and the PSA with AJ Bell sponsoring the initiative as part of a wider agreement with England Squash which will be unveiled over the coming weeks.

All glass court matches were shown live free to SQUASHTV digital subscribers as well as on the official Facebook pages of the PSA World Tour and England Squash, as well as The side court game were also be broadcast on those channels, as well as the PSA SQUASHTV YouTube channel.

The championship featured a men’s and women’s tournament containing eight players each with the format comprising two days of pool stage action before the 1-8 playoffs staged yesterday.

Selection criteria was based upon players having not earned more than five England caps at senior level – the top six ranked players that met the criteria were joined by two National Coach picks.

George Parker was crowned men’s champion following a 79-minute victory over Patrick Rooney (8-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 11-7) while Georgina Kennedy beat Millie Tomlinson 4-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3 in 69 minutes to be crowned women’s champion.

The three-day event provided an invaluable opportunity for 16 of England’s top squash players to get some much needed competitive matches, and the event, run under strict COVID protocols, was enjoyed and appreciated by all.

AJ Bell England Squash Challenge 2020, National Squash Centre, Manchester, England, November 24-26.

Men’s Final:
[1] George Parker (ENG) bt [2] Patrick Rooney (ENG) 8-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 11-7 (79m)

Third place play-off:
[3] Richie Fallows (ENG) bt Charlie Lee (ENG) 12-10, 11-4, 12-14, 11-8 (56m)

Fifth place play-off:
[4] Ben Coleman (ENG) bt Sam Todd (ENG) 11-9, 11-2, 9-11, 11-2 (42m)

Seventh place play-off:
Joshua Masters (ENG) bt Connor Sheen (ENG) 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 (17m)

3rd pool round:
Pool 1
[1] George Parker (ENG) bt [3] Richie Fallows (ENG) 11-4, 11-7, 12-10 (46m)
Sam Todd (ENG) bt Joshua Masters (ENG) 11-6, 11-8, 11-3 (21m)
Pool 2
[2] Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt Connor Sheen (ENG) 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-1 (38m)
Charlie Lee (ENG) bt [4] Ben Coleman (ENG) 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 (37m)

2nd pool round:
Pool 1
[1] George Parker (ENG) bt Joshua Masters (ENG) 11-2, 8-11, 11-3, 11-3 (39m)
[3] Richie Fallows (ENG) bt Sam Todd (ENG) 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 (31m)
Pool 2
[2] Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt [4] Ben Coleman (ENG) 12-10, 11-5, 11-4 (39m)
Charlie Lee (ENG) bt Connor Sheen (ENG) 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (27m)

1st pool round:
Pool 1
[1] George Parker (ENG) bt Sam Todd (ENG) 11-5, 9-11, 11-3, 11-2 (39m)
[3] Richie Fallows (ENG) bt Joshua Masters (ENG) 11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 (47m)
Pool 2
[2] Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt Charlie Lee (ENG) 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 (31m)
[4] Ben Coleman (ENG) bt Connor Sheen (ENG) 9-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5 (61m)

Women’s Final:
Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt [1] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 4-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3 (69m)

Third place play-off:
[4] Jasmine Hutton (ENG) bt [2] Julianne Courtice (ENG) 5-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (40m)

Fifth place play-off:
[3] Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt Alice Green (ENG) 11-2, 11-8, 11-3 (23m)

Seventh place play-off:
Lily Taylor (ENG) bt Anna Kimberley (ENG) 11-7, 11-6, 12-10 (24m)

3rd pool round:
Pool 1
[1] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) bt [4] Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 11-2, 11-6, 7-11, 6-11, 11-9 (54m)
Alice Green (ENG) bt Anna Kimberley (ENG) 9-11, 11-4, 11-5, 5-11, 13-11 (48m)
Pool 2
[2] Julianne Courtice (ENG) bt [3] Lucy Turmel (ENG) 4-11, 11-6, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9 (54m)
Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt Lily Taylor (ENG) 11-4, 11-2, 11-1 (23m)

2nd pool round:
Pool 1
[1] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) bt Anna Kimberley (ENG) 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 (29m)
[4] Jasmine Hutton (ENG) bt Alice Green (ENG) 9-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-2 (32m)
Pool 2
[2] Julianne Courtice (ENG) bt Lily Taylor (ENG) 14-12, 12-10, 11-6 (33m)
Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt [3] Lucy Turmel (ENG) 11-5, 11-9, 11-6 (37m)

1st pool round:
Pool 1
[1] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) bt Alice Green (ENG) 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (32m)
[4] Jasmine Hutton (ENG) bt Anna Kimberley (ENG) 11-5, 11-6, 11-5 (24m)
Pool 2
Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt [2] Julianne Courtice (ENG) 11-1, 11-6, 11-5 (19m)
[3] Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt Lily Taylor (ENG) 11-7, 11-9, 11-6 (27m) 

Pictures courtesy of England Squash 


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